A day to celebrate being Irish and proud

Forget austerity, Forget the property tax. Forget the weather.

Forget austerity, Forget the property tax. Forget the weather.

It’s that time of the year again for the Irish to celebrate.

We may not feel like it very much but it’s important that we do.

St Patrick’s Day is a very special occasion in the Irish calendar. It’s the day we celebrate our Irishness, our distinct culture.

The fact that it’s also celebrated all over the world adds to the occasion.

No other national holiday is marked in such style from New York to London, Sydney to Tokyo. Everyone wants to be Irish on March 17 so there must be something special about it.

No other leader gets such access to the White House and to all the movers and shakers in US politics than the taoiseach on the day as he hands over the bowl of shamrock to the president.

Rivers in Chicago and New York turn green for the day - they hardly go to such lengths on July 4, their own national holiday.

So what does it mean to be Irish in 2013?

It means we remain a proud nation despite all our problems.

It means we have a special place on the world stage other than for bail-outs.

It means that to be Irish is important.

We are a small nation punching above our weight. We helped to build other great nations through our emigrant population. We have left our mark in whatever country we landed.

So on Sunday - and for the weekend - celebrate our Irishness on St Patrick’s Day.

The country may be in economic turmoil and the property tax envelopes will start arriving soon but we have overcome greater adversity in the past.

That is not to minimise the hardship that sections of the community are suffering but as a nation striving together we should be able to tackle the issues.

That is our history and our legacy. If everyone wants to be Irish on St Patrick’s Day then we should be happy that we are the only ones who are.

Enjoy the holiday!